Anybody with migraines can tell you that they can be both excruciating and terrifying. While migraines afflict roughly 17.1% of women and 5.6% of men in this country, however, not everyone has the same kind.
Basilar migraines – also known as “migraines with brainstem aura” and Bickerstaff migraines – stand out as particularly incapacitating.
What are basilar migraines?
These migraines are now thought to originate within the brainstem itself, and they come with a unique set of symptoms including:
- Visual disturbances: Visual disturbances or “auras” that accompany basilar migraines may involve temporary blindness, double vision and blurred vision, which can be profoundly disabling, especially when they impair a person’s ability to navigate their surroundings.
- Vertigo and dizziness: Many individuals with basilar artery migraines experience severe dizziness or full-blown vertigo, frequently accompanied by tinnitus, leading to a loss of balance and coordination. This can make even simple tasks, like walking or standing, virtually impossible during an attack.
- Difficulty speaking: Some basilar migraine sufferers may experience difficulty speaking, slurred speech and aphasia, which can limit their ability to communicate during an attack.
- Numbness and weakness: Numbness or tingling sensations, often affecting the face or limbs, can also occur. This can further hinder daily activities and increase the overall disabling consequences of the migraine episode.
- Impaired consciousness: In severe cases, basilar artery migraines can lead to temporary loss of consciousness, which may be likened to blackouts or fainting spells.
Overall, the constellation of symptoms that come with basilar migraines can be utterly disabling, since the combination of even a few of these things and their impact on critical brain functions would make it impossible to perform even the most basic tasks.
Does that mean that your SSDI claim will be approved?
Unfortunately, gaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for any type of migraine disorder can be challenging, because medical providers seldom get to observe and document the effects of a migraine attack in person with their patients.
In addition, they typically have to rely on patient-provided information about the duration and frequency of attacks. Those are critical factors in the disability determination process since someone who experiences one or two attacks a year isn’t likely to be as debilitated as someone who has seven or eight attacks a month.
If you’re struggling to get disability benefits approved on the basis of this or another migraine disorder, it may be time to consider seeking some legal assistance with your claim to better ensure that it is as strong as it can possibly be.